Patagonia Nine Trails Backpack (36L) Day Pack
Product Review & Walking Gear Test
Nine Trails Backpack (36L) Day Pack
Patagonia says:"For extra-long days or minimalist-style overnight missions. Built to fit comfortably and close to body on long approaches."
Features to Note:
- Body: 4.2-oz 210-denier CORDURA® 100% nylon ripstop
- Lining: 3.3-oz 200-denier 100% polyester
- Treated with a polyurethane coating and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
- Top loader with integrated lid
- Large exterior stretch pocket
- Two quick-stash side pockets
- Side compression
- Mono-mesh back panel
- Padded shoulder harness
- Adjustable sternum strap
- Waistbelt for secure fit
- Two sizes available
- Choice of three colours
I tested the Patagonia Nine Trails 35L Backpack during a 6 day walk along The Herriot Way in North Yorkshire. The Herriot Way is a circular walk and I stayed in the same place every night and used a taxi service to get to and from the trailhead each day, This meant I was able to test the Patagonia Nine Trails 35L Backpack for its intended purpose - as a Day Pack.
The main compartment is extremely easy to access. It has a large opening and its own draw cord - which unusually (in my experience) is on the side rather than the centre of the back. The main compartment extension has its own draw-cord and is made from 3.3-oz 200-denier 100% polyester and has a reassuringly robust feel to it, as does the stitching connecting the main compartment extension to the rest of the back pack. In my humble experience, backpack extensions are often too lightweight and flimsy and seem to be added as an afterthought. Not true in the case of the Patagonia Nine Trails 35L. This is an extension that expects to be used and will be able to handle anything you throw at it.
Furthermore - there is a good, solid, robust, side zip that allows you to open the main compartment for about two-thirds of its depth. This zip has a double puller allowing me to open it from the bottom up as well as the top down so I could easily get at items in the nether regions of the bag without having to take everything else out.
The top zip has a loop of cord attached to the puller to aid operation with gloved hands. At the top of this zipped opening there is a poppered strap. Now when I looped the strap through the cord on the puller and secured it shut with the popper I found the zip could not accidentally fall open as I was walking along (or be opened by a dastardly thief without me knowing). I could do the same thing on the bottom zip by looping the cord on the bottom puller through the compression strap on the side of the backpack. As an anti-theft device it's not fool proof - but better than nothing and certainly stopped the zip opening accidentally and spilling all my precious cargo down the trail.
The base of the main compartment is reinforced with a stiffish plastic sheet which means the bag is not only protected from objects underneath it but will sit upright on the ground like a dog instead of falling over in the mud and dirt. When not is use, the base simply folded up to save storage space in my car & under stairs cupboard. I love this simple, but effective feature.
Before we leave the main compartment there is a small zipped bag attached to the inside. It is big enough to take a mobile phone, wallet and a few keys which can be attached to a plastic 'keyring'. This was perfect for storing all my important stuff that I didn't need while out on the trail itself but couldn't afford to be without - car keys, wallet, passport (this was in North Yorkshire remember). If this had been detachable then it would have been perfect. But sadly, it is not.
Finally there is an elasticated pocket for a hydration pack with a small plastic 'hook' to hang it from so it doesn't fall to the bottom of the backpack. Another great idea, the hole for the drinking tube is in the centre as well so you can have the drinking tube on either hand. The hole itself is just about big enough to take the drinking nozzle and is elasticated so it closes up again once the bulky nozzle has passed through to stop the rain from getting in. I must admit, I did struggle with this this a few times but it got easier with practice.
On the outside of the main compartment there is a large elasticated back pocket for storing sandals, fleece, gloves, hat or anything that I might want in a hurry without having to open the backpack. The closing clips for the main compartment are located inside this pocket so they are well out of the way and not obvious to any nefarious, kleptomaniac fingers.
There are also two large elasticated side pockets for storing water bottles, hot drinks flasks, fruit, gloves, hats, OS map or anything else of that sort of size.
The belt is nicely padded and includes two zipped pockets for carrying anything you might need whilst 'on-the-go', like sun-tan cream, mosquito spray, lip balm, whistle, personal locator beacon or a few moral boosting sweeties.
The main shoulder straps are also nicely padded and are fully adjustable. They include a sternum strap which can be placed in four distinct positions (top, upper middle, lower middle or bottom). This mean't it couldn't slide up or down as I walked. Another lovely little detail - the sternum strap includes the now common elasticated GPS holder for a GPS device or video camera and a clip to hold my hydration pack drinking tube in position ready for that next mouthful.
At the top of the shoulder straps there is a carrying handle.
The back section is quite stiff and ribbed and helped keep the bag away from my back. All in all, I found this to be pretty effective at keeping my back dry and well ventilated whilst climbing steeply. The back section is one size only and not adjustable.
The lid has a large zipped pocket but no plastic 'keyring'. It is also detachable which is rather unusual. Patagonia suggest you can remove it to save weight but the difference is minimal. When you consider that the lid provides the main protection against wind and rain getting into the main compartment it is difficult to imagine when I would risk venturing out without it - certainly in this country (the UK).
There are four compression straps for tightening everything up and to make the backpack compact.
Finally, the main body of the Patagonia Nine Trails 35L Backpack is made from 4.2-oz 210-denier CORDURA® 100% nylon ripstop material that is strong and robust. The lining is made from 3.3-oz 200-denier 100% polyester and it is all treated with a polyurethane coating and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. It is not 100% waterproof but does a pretty good job at keeping out the worst of the wind and rain.
Sadly there are no loops for an ice-axe or walking poles which I am a bit bemused by. I did find I could store my walking poles 'handle down' in the elasticated side pockets and hold them in place reasonably securely by the compression straps, though this is far from ideal. However, I could not anywhere suitable to carry an ice axe. This is a very odd omission in a pack that is aimed at the serious hiker and is so good in every other aspect.
Overall, I am very, very impressed with the Nine Trails 35L Backpack from Patagonia. It is comfortable, has a very high build quality and lots of delightful little features that I am rapidly beginning to wonder how I ever did without. However, the lack of ice axe loop is a serious omission if you want to take it walking in the snow and ice. You might also baulk at the £160 price tag.
NB. There is quite a good video on the Patagonia website that explains many of the features I have described above. To see it go to Patagonia Nine Trails Backpack 36L.
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